The Supreme Court on Wednesday restrained all State governments from releasing life convicts exercising their remission powers.
A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices J.S. Khehar, J. Chelameswar, A.K. Sikri and Rohinton Nariman passed the restraint order till July 22, when the matter relating to the release of life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case would be taken up for hearing. The Bench, after hearing Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, also issued notices to the States seeking their response by July 18 to seven questions, including whether they could exercise their remission power under Section 435 Cr.P.C., even in a case investigated by the CBI, as had been done by the Tamil Nadu government. On February 19, the Tamil Nadu Government passed an order proposing remission of life imprisonment imposed on seven life convicts involved in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
The Centre filed a petition challenging the release. On February 20, the court directed the Tamil Nadu government to maintain status quo on its decision to release the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.